… when I walked out of the Channel 9 studios in Richmond in a daze, carrying the bunch of flowers and the bottle of champagne you see in the picture above. I had just won $672,357 worth of cash and prizes, including $500,000 worth of gold bullion on Temptation (you can watch the entire 20 minute episode here)… and my knees were feeling a bit shaky. My mum Julie (pictured above), my sister Kate and I went back to Mum’s house that night, got some pizza delivered and sat there drinking champagne, scarcely able to process what had just happened. I remember staring at them and repeatedly saying, in a low, astonished tone, “Bloody Hell! This changes everything”.
And it did.
Before I outline the general, here’s the specific, just in case you were wondering what I did with those prizes I won along the way..
I used Night #1’s prize – the home renovation worth $10,000 – on the kitchen of my home. In Croydon. It was sorely needed.
The prize from Night #2 – the white leather lounge suite – I still have. See?
Night #3’s prize; the $19,000 watch, set with 68 diamonds from Versace? Well, I remember taking it to the Versace branch on Pitt Street in Sydney (feeling extremely nervous about carrying something that valuable – and easy to steal – on my person!) I wanted to ask them about the possibility of exchanging the watch for a ring, which could serve as an engagement ring… I was thinking of proposing to my then girlfriend (now wife) at the time. The nice Versace saleslady advised me against it, as most of the Versace ring designs at that time featured their logo… a Medusa.
Ah. That Medusa? The hideous gorgon with snakes for hair whose appearance was so horrible that it turned men to stone? Yes. Right, so not exactly ideal ‘engagement ring material’, then. So, no exchanging of the watch for a ring. Not feeling especially comfortable with the idea of wearing a $19,000 watch, in the end, I put it up for auction at a Sydney auction house. I got $3,000 for it.
Night #4’s prize: the 13 day holiday in the Canadian Rockies, valued at $35,876, I gave to my mum and sister. They really enjoyed it, and I’m so glad I was able help make that memory for them. On a side note, I was also able to help my Mum and sister out financially, by sharing the cash winnings with them. Two instances where giving truly was better than receiving.
Mum didn’t really do all much travel after that, and never got to go overseas again. Sadly, my dear, wonderful Mum died 18 months ago, and I miss her. A lot. Every single day.
Night #5’s prize: The Volvo V50 wagon, valued at $62,9650? I sold it back to the dealer and used the money to buy two brand new (but much less expensive) cars – one for me, one for my wife. It’s the first time I’ve ever bought a new car. It’ll also be the last; buying a brand new car is a really nice indulgence, but not necessary in any way. It was a privilege to be able to do that once – and to do it for my wife too – but that’ll be it for us.
On Night #6, I came back, played, and won all of those prizes, and then returned for Night #7 (the final night), when I won – in addition to all those prizes – $500,000 in gold bullion. (Hence the background wallpaper for www.howtowingameshows.com!)
Instead of the bullion, I elected to take the cash equivalent, and frittered it all away on… a house. The house that’s now our family home. Which brings me to the financial aspect of the win, and its lasting impact. I’m still so very grateful for the huge boost to my financial situation that the win provided. As someone who has always has been – and always will be – a freelancer, the security provided by that lump sum has been meaningful well beyond its dollar value. It’s brought me so much peace of mind, which is sometimes in short supply when your chosen career dictates that you go from job to job, some big, some small, and some very far apart…
As for the impact that the win had on my quizzing ‘career’ (for want of a better word)… well, it did give me the credential of ‘Quiz Show Winner’, and the reputation that goes with it. This often results in people asking me questions which I wouldn’t have the faintest clue about, and the question is usually prefaced by something like “Oh, you’d know this, ‘Mr Temptation Winner’…” Having said that, my confidence in the afterglow of The Big Win made me jump at the chance to return to Temptation for their ‘Champion of Champions’ tournament, and also made saying “Yes” to Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster a foregone conclusion. And while I did end up winning Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster, I didn’t do quite so well in the Temptation ‘Champion of Champions’ tournament. As you can see, in my first appearance here, I barely scraped through to the next round, and in my second appearance, in the semi-final, I was soundly beaten by Rob’s incredible speed on the buzzer; he doubled my score! (Bit of trivia; in that game, I was also up against Rob ‘The Coach’ Fulton, who I’ve since interviewed for this site!) This new-found reputation also led to quite a few appearances on The Einstein Factor as part of their ‘Brains Trust’. It was odd to find myself there in front of the camera, since just one year earlier, I had been working behind the scenes on that very show, writing gags for its host Peter Berner. And there’s been another brush with TV quizzing recently, in the forthcoming Australian version of The Chase, which I’ll be discussing in detail in an upcoming post. But perhaps the most lasting and joyous result of my quiz-winner reputation has been starting and maintaining www.howtowingameshows.com. Running the site has been a really fun, stimulating, and at times challenging, learning curve. And I’m hoping to keep providing more and more tips, hints, interviews and info for you, dear reader, for as long as I possibly can.
All in all, that momentous day on Temptation 10 years ago was both an end and a beginning.
It was the end of my long, long quest to get on – and win! – Sale of the Century, which had started 11 years earlier, in 1994.
And it was the beginning of a fantastic start to family life, the beginning of a reputation, the beginning of a number of adventures in my new role as Quiz Show Winner, and the beginning of this blog, and all that’s come with it! So from my experience, the cliché is most certainly true…
Good things do indeed come to those who wait.
Thank you so much for your continued support of www.howtowingameshows.com. You’re who I’m doing it for, so, as always… if you ever have any questions, just ask!